Fraud and Injustice in the Ambrose-Riordan Case. Part #1: How the Children Were Stolen From Mother in CT Family Court

They don't live with her anymore.

The divorce and custody case of Christopher Ambrose v Karen Riordan is one for the books, a template of how corruption can seep into an institution that was devised to provide justice.

The Ambrose case originated in the Judicial District of Fairfield, CT, before Judge Eddie Rodriquez in 2019.  The couple had been married for 15 years. Ambrose had been a Hollywood TV writer, living away, mainly in California and NYC. Riordan was the stay-at-home mother, living with their three adopted Latino children in CT, surrounded by a warm and loving network of family and friends.

The children are now 15,15, and 11.

At first, primary custody was awarded to Riordan, the parent with whom the children were bonded and their primary attachment figure – since their father had been absent most of their lives.

Before filing for divorce, Ambrose locked Riordan out of all the marital accounts and confiscated her inheritance from her mother, money she inherited before the marriage. This he admitted under oath in a hearing. He had millions. His wife had nothing.

Karen inherited $150,000 from her mother Adele in 2004, before she married Chris Ambrose. After they married, she turned it over to him to manage for her. He stole every last dime of it.

In CT Family Court, that is not seen as injustice; it is seen as an opportunity. The courts never required Ambrose to file a financial affidavit, despite his under oath admission that he stole his wife’s inheritance. In fact, in a shocking decision, a judge ruled that if Ambrose stole her money, that would come out at the trial when Ambrose is cross-examined, and then, if there were any money left, the judge would decide who should get it at the end of the trial. Meantime, she gets nothing and has to wait for the trial to conclude.

In the meantime, no judge would enforce spousal payments out of the marital assets to Riordan even though the money was half hers. Since there was no enforcement, Ambrose did not pay spousal support except for four monthly payments over 36 months.

Karen Riordan and Chris Ambrose

Ambrose also had the well-connected family law attorney Nancy Aldrich, who arranged for the well-connected guardian ad litem [GAL], Jocelyn Hurwitz, who arranged for the go-to custody evaluator, the expert on parental alienation, Dr. Jessica Biren-Caverly working on his behalf.

His wife, without money, could not afford to pay an attorney like Aldrich or influence the GAL or custody evaluator, not when her husband was paying them and controlled the scope of the work for the GAL, who selected the custody evaluator.

GAL Jocelyn Hurwitz is a strong advocate for Parental alienation syndrome and has billed more than $200,000 on this case.

What is significant is that after Rodriquez gave Riordan primary custody, something Ambrose did not want, he was mysteriously replaced by a more friendly spirit.

Judge Jane Grossman now was to handle the case.

The custody evaluator selected by the GAL, Dr. Jessica Biren-Cavelry, soon found parental alienation by the mother as an explanation for why the children did not like spending time with Ambrose.

The GAL Hurwitz endorsed this. Hurwitz called for an emergency hearing; HurwitzHurwitz called for the hearing by Hurwitz before the judge. This could not wait. The GAL concluded the children, who had been with their mother every day since they were infants, were now at immediate risk if they stayed an hour longer with their mother – since their mother was alienating them from their father, which would cause them lasting psychological harm.

The custody evaluator just came out with her report, and the mother is alienating the children, and it must be addressed at once!

Suddenly – on April 24, 202, without a word of warning, three children were removed from their mother’s house, then ages 13, 13, and 9 – and the only person they had ever lived with was removed from their lives.

Judge Jane Grossman ordered the children out of their mother’s house and not contact the woman who had raised them since they were infants. She never met the children or heard from them. Their interests were represented by the Guardian ad Litem Jocelyn Hurwitz, paid for by the father who controlled the marital assets.

The GAL did not think it would cause the children any psychological harm if they were removed, as they were, by Judge Grossman’s orders,  and forbidden contact with her — and given to their father for his sole custody and control.

It was only supposed to be for 90 days of no contact. After that, though the children would stay with their father, they would be permitted to see their mother with a paid therapist in attendance every minute to make sure more alienation did not transpire.

The kids were in terror. Traumatized, as any child would be, when they lose their safety and security of home and their mother and witness as victims of a diabolical system that puts the adult-centric parental alienation syndrome over their needs and desires and places a guardian ad litem that bills by the hour as their voice before the court.

Of course, the 90 days away from mom dragged on to months and then years.

They were sold to a man they disliked and now despise for what he has done to them — and perhaps not because the mother alienated them – but because the man himself, this heartless man – who lost his TV writing career because of plagiarism – a scandal in itself – alienated them.

It was in his nature to alienate and even work towards alienation by being cruel – and then documenting every time in writing that the children ran from him. He once left them in the cold for hours – nearly frostbit – to ensure the kids did not want to be with him.

He knew the game, too, as a lawyer and writer of TV shows about the law.

In CT Family Court, parental alienation is proven merely by the children being afraid of the father, not wanting to be with him, alleging abuse. The mother is always blamed even if actual abuse occurs – if the father can pay.

Even today – two years later – the children continue to despise him, and to this day – two years since they have seen their mother — they call their father “P,” which stands for Pinocchio, or Creepy Cree – because of his perversions.

They do not call him dad or father because he is not that to them. He is, to them, the man who stole their happiness, who took their mother. You might feel the same way — about this if it happened to you.

Imagine the colossal failure of this system in CT — take away the children so as not to alienate the father no matter how big an abuser he might be – and expect the children not to be alienated from the man who did it to them, who paid for it in the gross market place for children called CT Family Court.

Stay tuned for part #2.

In our next post, FR will explain how the purchase was arranged and how the father had to pay more to stop an investigation into his alleged pedophilia.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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